Rent Smart Wales

If you’re a landlord or letting agent, you’re probably aware that the Welsh Government has begun implementing separate rules and regulations for the Welsh Private Rented Sector (PRS), under The Housing (Wales) Act 2014.  

The main change is mandatory registration and licensing through their Rent Smart scheme.  The deadline for landlords and agents to register was 23 November 2016 and now, if you’re operating in Wales without a licence, you may be breaking the law. 

To help you make sure you’re compliant with the legislation, we’ve summarised the relevant information you need to know. 

Essentially, there are two parts to the process: the registration and the licence application. You’ll need to go on the Rent Smart Wales website  to register and apply for a licence. 

The cost of online registration for landlords is £33.50, rising to £80.50 if done on a paper application form. After that, the landlord licence fee is £144 for online applications and £186 for paper application forms. 
The fee for landlord registration doesn’t vary depending on the number of rental properties included in the registration. However, a separate registration is needed for each different joint landlord arrangement that a landlord is part of. 

For letting agents managing fewer than 20 properties and not undertaking “let only” activities, landlord fees apply. They also apply when the letting agent only manages their own and / or properties owned by a relative and do not employ staff for letting and management purposes. For all other letting agents, the fee will reflect the size of their portfolio (read the full pricing structure here). A discount will apply if they are a member of either: UKALA, ARLA, RICS or NALS.

Licenses granted by the government last 5 years, and some training is a prerequisite to obtaining one. If you’re unsure whether you need a licence, here’s an explanation of which landlords need a licence. The same is available if you are a letting agent

The cost of training is separate to the licensing fee and will depend on which training you decide to undertake.

Landlord? Here’s your checklist:

•    You must complete an application providing relevant information, including contact details.
•    You must provide the names and dates of birth of all “connected persons” who work on the letting/management of a property. Generally speaking, these will be your employees.
•    You must pay the licence fee (online application = £144, paper application = £186)
•    You and your “connected persons” must be trained to the landlord standard. You can find out more about the training options on the Rent Smart website.
•    You must make a fit and proper declaration

After you submit your completed application, Rent Smart can take up to 8 weeks to determine whether to grant a licence or refuse it.

If you’re a letting agent, the list is slightly longer:

•    You must complete an application providing relevant information, including contact details
•    You must provide the names and dates of birth of all “connected persons” who work on the letting/management of a property. Generally speaking, these will be your employees.
•    You must pay the licence fee, which depends on the size and type of your agency.
•    You and your “connected persons” must be trained to the landlord standard. You can find out more about the training options on the Rent Smart website.
•    You must make a fit and proper declaration
•    You must upload a list of all your managed properties in Wales, including the details of all the client landlords. If you’re a ‘let only’ agent then you must make a declaration to this effect.
•    If you have Client Money Protection, Professional Indemnity Insurance and Membership to a Redress Scheme, you must provide evidence when you apply.*

After you submit your completed application, Rent Smart can take up to 8 weeks to determine whether to grant a licence or refuse it.

*Please note: if an agent does not have these business safeguards in place when they apply, the licence can be granted on the condition that they get them within 6 weeks. It will be revoked if the agent fails to comply with this condition. Only in exceptional circumstances (e.g. when a person is looking after a rental property for a direct family member) would this condition not be part of an agent licence). 

If an agent is part of an agent membership body such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) or the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), they should already be part of a Client Money Protection Scheme, have professional Indemnity Insurance and be a member of an independent redress scheme such as The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services Property or the Property Redress Scheme.

To find out more about the scheme and to ensure you’re compliant, go to www.RentSmart.gov.wales